How to get herePlanning your transportation to and from Nanaimo is easily tailored to the type of experience you’re looking for on Vancouver Island. Learn about travelling by air, land, or sea. Discover how to get here
Nanaimo, British Columbia
The city of Nanaimo is a classic West Coast community, offering natural beauty at every turn, and vast recreation potential. Nanaimo has one of the longest shorelines in Canada, and a forested mountain backdrop just outside downtown. Here, you can go from the wilderness to the city centre in just a few minutes, and spend more time in the places you want to be.
Nanaimo, BC is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 113 km north of Victoria, and 55 km across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver. The city projects out into the strait like a headland, affording waterfront on three sides and spectacular ocean views at every turn. The local landscape is defined by Mount Benson, which rises 1,006 metres (3,300 feet) just west of Nanaimo, and the Nanaimo River estuary, the largest estuary on Vancouver Island, which flows into Nanaimo Harbour at the south end of the city.
Nanaimo is the place to find natural wonders, festivals, culinary joys, and so much more. Discover your Nanaimo 360 by browsing things to do, places to stay, and how to get here.
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What’s Your Travel Type?
Have you ever wondered what type of traveller you are? Whether you’re more of a history buff, or perhaps a thrill-seeker? Destination Canada created this quiz to help you better understand exactly what type of traveller you are. If you’d like to see an itinerary that matches your traveller type, check out our custom itineraries.
Free Spirits are most likely to be seen at a tourism hot spot, participating in a group tour, or dining out at a top restaurant.
Cultural Explorers are most likely to be seen exploring heritage sites and museums. CE's also love to interact with locals.
Authentic Experiencers are most likely to be seen in nature reserves, hiking and enjoying the great outdoors, at a heritage site or a museum.
Latest blog posts
The play’s the thing – Shakespeare by the Sea and more in Nanaimo
August 17, 2017
More than 400 years after William Shakespeare penned a play, we still can’t get enough of the loveable Bard. It’s no wonder Will’s timeless wit, wisdom, tragedies and comedies keep people coming back every year for Nanaimo’s immensely popular festival, Shakespeare by the Sea. This year it will be held Sept. 15 -17. The seaside location at Pioneer Waterfront Plaza puts a Nanaimo spin on Shakespeare’s works, as does the Vancouver Island Shakespeare Arts Society (VISAS) interpretation on his plays. This year, VISAS will perform the tragedy, King Lear, along with an abridged version of The Complete Works of William […]Read More
The Authentic Nanaimo 360 Experience
August 15, 2017
When I’m travelling I want to experience everything the location has to offer by fully immersing myself in the history, culture, and day-to-day life of the locals. Just like anyone else, sometimes I forget to get in touch with the place I call home. But lucky for me, that place is Nanaimo. This city has everything anyone could wish for: lively marine ecosystem, diverse indigenous wildlife, and a trendy downtown urban sanctuary. When I feel like I’m losing touch with my hometown, I take advantage of the first opportunity I can to experience Nanaimo all over again. Day 1 Breakfast: […]Read More
Get your Fringe Festival on and explore the outer reaches of Nanaimo, too
August 9, 2017
Fringe Festivals happen all summer around the world – from the world’s largest event in Edinburgh, Scotland, to the delightfully unique one right here in Nanaimo. What is a fringe festival you may ask? It’s a kind of free-wheeling show brought to you by theatre troupes from around the world. They each bring their own combo of stage talents – actors, musicians, comedians and storytellers – to the masses in hilarious, and at times, absurd ways. There’s also plenty of opportunity for audience participation in the shows. Nanaimo’s 10-day festival happens Aug. 10-19, at three locations: Port Theatre, Vancouver Island […]Read More